“M.D. Medicine Doctor is not negligent when he gives Neurological treatment to a patient in emergency” – National Commission

I think this judgment is to be juxtaposed with earlier judgment which observed that M.D. Medicine cannot practice cardiology. This issue is required to be decided finally i.e. the area of practices of M.D. Medicine vis-a-vis other specialties as another interpretation of this Judgment would be that, only in emergency cases, M.D. Medicine Doctor can treat the patient which otherwise could be treated by a specialist. The Medical fraternity may have two opinions. Thus the Law needs to be settled, so that ultimately both, the patient & the Doctor will be benefited.


Facts in nutshell :
Allegations by the Complainant :
1. The Complainant’s mother was admitted in the Hospital as a case of emergency. The patient was having high B.P. and was type II diabetic patient. After examination of the patient, it was found that there was blood clotting in various places of the brain of the patient. Therefore, treatment was started accordingly with higher antibiotic, anti-convulsant drugs.
2. After improvement in condition, the patient was discharged from the Hospital and patient was taken to SRMS Medical Institute, where it was diagnosed as Herpes Simplex Encephalitis. However after 16 days from the discharge of opponent hospital, the patient took her last breath.
3. It is the basic allegation of the Complainant that the M.D. Medicine Doctor who was on emergency duty was not a Neurologist and hence he failed to diagnose the neurological condition and had not treated the patient properly and hence filed a complaint before the Nainital District Forum and prayed for compensation of Rs.15,00,000/-. His compliant was partly allowed, but in appeal, State commission dismissed the Compliant and hence the Revision.

Defense :
1. The Hospital and the Doctors denied all the charges of negligence. It was contended that the Opponent Doctor was a qualified M.D. Medicine Doctor and he attended, the said patient in ‘emergency’, as per standard norms and started al the required treatment.

Held :

1. The National Commission came to the rescue of Doctors and rejected the Complaint. After going through the medical records, it observed that On the basis of ECG, CT scan and other tests, it was clear that due to uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes of the patient, the possibility of brain fever was expressed and advised CSF study also.
2. CSF report suggested possibility of viral encephalitis and it was discussed with the relatives of patient and advised them to take the patient to a higher neurology centre and accordingly the patient was discharged.
3. The complainant failed to adduce any evidence to prove that the treatment given by the Doctor was wrong or it further deteriorated the condition of patient.
It relied on the land mark judgement of Apex Court in the case of Kusum Sharma & Others V/s Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre and others, AIR 2010 SC 1050, wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court observed as;

” 81. It is a matter of common knowledge that after happening of some unfortunate event, there is a marked tendency to look for a human factor to blame for an untoward event, a tendency which is closely linked with the desire to punish. Things have gone wrong and, therefore, somebody must be found to answer for it. A professional deserves total protection. The Indian Penal Code has taken care to ensure that people who act in good faith should not be punished.”

“M.D. Medicine Doctor is not negligent when he gives Neurological treatment to a patient in emergency” – National Commission

An article by Adv. Rohit Erande, Pune